For all my liberalness, open-mindedness, and hard-earned independence, I've kept a tightly guarded secret. I started writing about sex 15 years ago, although in a nonfiction, journalistic kind of way at that time. But that book got sidelined by my own resistance and fear...what if my children read it, and what would my friends, neighbors, clients, and ex-boyfriends think?
After letting the manuscript sit in a drawer for over a decade, I fictionalized and embellished those stories, put the book together as a novel, and published under a pen name. I didn't hide behind the pen name, however, and openly associated with my alter ego, Elyse Grant. The Prince Charming Hoax can be considered erotic romance or sexy women's contemporary fiction.
When it came time to write the next book, I wanted to push the boundaries of the erotica genre, but again felt a little uncomfortable about publishing books with explicit sex scenes and taboo themes in my own or even Elyse's name. (Seems silly now, but I wanted to protect her honor, I guess.) The reluctance to go public with these stories kept me from writing what I wanted, and I went through about six months of writing stilted stories that I either abandoned or hated when finished. My muse was not too happy about being stifled.
So I invented a new identity, and the writing flowed. Five novelettes and an omni edition published in two months time. Almost a full year after The Prince Charming Hoax was released. Layla Wilcox, my newest and most prolific alter ego, wrote the Secret Lives of Housewives series of books, which include My Secrets Discovered, Revealed, Shared, Bared and Exposed.
Although I shared (as Shelley Lieber) that I was writing a new erotica series, I didn't reveal the new pen name or announce the publication of the new books, except as Layla Wilcox. I was pleasantly surprised that the books sold despite Layla's lack of social media presence or followers.
So, why am I coming out of the closet now?
I'm turning another year older this week. Now that I'm a "woman of a certain age," I've decided that rather than wear a red hat and purple dress (who thought that up, anyway?), I would simply be myself, without pretense or subterfuge.
It's also Valentine's Day this week, and I want to celebrate my birthday, V-day, and the recent release of the final two books of the new series. I"m having a "coming out" party to introduce you to my new alter ego and her work. Layla has agreed to discount the omni edition, My Secrets Collection, (Books 1-3 of the series, plus 2 bonus stories), My Secrets Bared (Book 4) and My Secrets Exposed (Book 5) for a limited time.
If you are at all interested and want to join the celebration, please visit Layla Wilcox Erotica to find out more about the books. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter, and join Layla's Mailing List to receive bonus stories and special giveaways that are sent to subscribers only. She never spams or sends chatty emails. She just lets you know when she has something good to share with you.
I feel so much better now. Thanks to those of you who have stayed with me down to the last line ;-)